Updated: Sep 20, 2019
Are you pre-med and starting medical school this fall? Are you a new medical student wondering how to navigate the waters of medical school? Student Doctor Briana Christophers is sharing some advice in this three part letter to incoming medical students. Be sure to not miss the part 1 and part 2!
Dear incoming medical student,
First off: congratulations on starting medical school! The process leading up to this point can be pretty uncertain, so take a moment to celebrate that and to reflect on all that you have accomplished.
This letter is meant to give you a few points of advice that I wish I had received prior to starting medical school almost a year ago. No two medical school experiences are the same, but I do hope that some of these comments are helpful to you.
Growing as a Future Physician
Explore as early as possible: you will have many opportunities to learn about new paths and specialties so be sure to take advantage of it. One way to start gathering information is to attend events planned by specialty interest groups. Ask physicians to go to clinic with them and see if that field may be of interest moving forward.
Find mentors: build connections with older students, residents, and faculty who will help you along your path in medical school and beyond. Reach out to faculty members who give lectures on topics about which you are interested in finding out more. Broaden your mentor search to folks outside of your institution too! Resources like SheMD can help you build your network, so be sure to check out the Women in Healthcare series for profiles of physicians in a variety of fields.
Get involved in ways that matter to you: join organizations or activities that will help you grow. The key is to not overburden yourself while engaging in activities that are meaningful to you. You will not have as much time as you may have had in undergrad, so be selective with how you spend your time.
Find opportunities to sharpen your skills: make sure to take advantage of any chance to get better at interacting with patients, taking a history, or conducting a physical exam. You will feel more confident as you practice!
Develop practices for yourself that will be useful for clerkships: with every clinical encounter you have early in medical school, try to get better at your history and physical exam. Practice taking notes during the encounter however you find helpful because you will need them when you need to present the case or write a note.
I promise that you will grow a lot this year. You may feel frustrated and tired, so take a step back from time to time and recover. If your curriculum is pass-fail, take it seriously and use it to find your own sense of balance.
Good luck and remember to be kind to yourself,